Thursday, March 7, 2013

Penguins Game 24 Recap - Penguins 5, Flyers 4

-This game started like you figure it might. The Flyers scored four first period goals and chased Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins were down three goals after one period. James Neal took three penalties and the Penguins took a few more minors are the first period went on and they were falling in the trap the Flyers set every single time. The game actually wasn't too bad for the most part but the Flyers scored three times in the last five minutes of the period including twice in the last two minutes of the period. Bad times. Defense was bad, PK was bad, the Penguins got outshot 18-4. Bad times.

  -The second period was the absolute flip of the first period. It was the Penguins that outshot the Flyers 12-3 and it was the Penguins that outscored the Flyers by three goals including the game tying goal at the 15:47 mark off the stick of Tyler Kennedy. Kennedy might be bad this year but he has three goals and all three goals have come against the Flyers. Just perfect. The Penguins carried the play and won nearly every puck battle and forced the Flyers to pull Ilya Bryzgalov after he gave up four goals on only 16 shots. Yikes.

-The third period was shutdown city from the Penguins. Chris Kunitz scored his second goal of the game from another sick feed from Sidney Crosby just 18 seconds into the period and from then on out the Flyers were unable to get anything going and the Penguins squeezed the life out of the team and the fans. It was amazing to watch as they were able to win every puck battle and clear every dump attempt. Complete 180 from the first period when the Penguins looked like a chick with their heads cut off. 

 -Should be to nobody's surprised that the Penguins dominated periods two and three when they didn't get too involved with the Flyers after the whistle BS and they made sure to finish every play. When they needed to dump and chase they did and when the opportunity came to carry the puck through the neutral zone they were able to effectively do that also. Really just two of the best periods the Penguins have played all year.

-Can you really say enough about Kunitz? Dude is just in the zone. Two more goals from him and he chipped in an assist in less than 17 minutes of ice time. Sure, he is getting some ridiculous passes from Crosby but he is making the right play nearly every time he is on the ice. Not really sure you could want much more from him this year.

-Speaking of Crosby, do you remember when some proclaimed the Claude Giroux was the best player in the world? Heh, yea, I know, that is pretty funny to me to. Honestly if you asked me I am not sure if Giroux was even on the ice tonight or if he was a healthy scratch. Crosby was all over the ice and set up three goals. When he wasn't setting up goals he was winning battles along the boards and when he wasn't doing that he was showing the viewing audience why he was the best player in the world and why Giroux is lucky that he can even be put in the same conversation.

-While Evgeni Malkin didn't record a point and had only a pair of shots but he was really good. He was especially strong carrying the puck into the neutral zone and while he didn't pick up a point on the play he was largely responsible for the Neal goal that made the score 4-3 and really gave you that feel that the Penguins were going to win the game. This was only his second game back after a concussion but he has looked extremely strong in both games.

-Neal needs to get his emotions in check. He was responsible for two of the Flyers goals in the first period and he, more than anyone, gets sucked into the emotions of the game and it gets him off his game and works against the Penguins in a big way. I am not sure what you do with him and while he seems like he has been in the league a long time he is a young guy. It seems that he and Scott Hartnell really have a strong dislike for each other. He has to learn to put that behind him.

-Fleury wasn't good but I don't think he was as bad as his final line would indicate. There were a few goals that he certainly should have had but Paul Martin deflected a pair of goals past the Flower that you just don't really know if it is possible for any goaltender to make that save. What was huge for the Penguins was Tomas Vokoun coming in relief and stopping all 14 shots he faced in the final two periods. In order for the Penguins to have a chance Vokoun needed to be nearly perfect, if not perfect, and he was. The defense did a really nice job in front of him but he looked a lot more confident than he has looked over the past three or four games. That is huge.

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